PORT OF SPAIN –– The T&T Police Service (TTPS) is apparently dismissing Crime Watch host Ian Alleyne’s complaints over his arrest by rival television presenter Inspector Roger Alexander on Tuesday, and will not launch any probe into whether excessive force was used in the matter.
Responding to questions from reporters at the weekly police Press briefing at the Police Administration Building, Port of Spain, yesterday, police public affairs officer ASP Michael Pierre said Alexander, who was also filming footage for his Beyond The Tape programme at the time of the incident was on official duty.
“Beyond The Tape is an official programme of the TTPS, sanctioned by the commissioner of police. Inspector Alexander has the authority to cover all police operations or investigation. Therefore he would have been on duty at the location,” Pierre said.
Asked repeatedly whether the TTPS would be investigating Alleyne’s allegations that Alexander used excessive force in Alleyne’s arrest, Pierre stated firmly: “There is no investigation in that matter.”
The incident, which was captured by Alleyne’s cameraman, occurred when Alleyne and Alexander ended up at the home of Chaguanas businessman Sheron Sukhdeo, who is accused of assaulting his wife, as Central Division police were about to search the property.
Following up on Sukhdeo’s story for his show, Alleyne had gone to the home at Orchard Gardens, Chaguanas, and was invited inside by one of the businessman’s relatives. As Alleyne was entering the compound, however, Alexander prevented him from doing so saying a police operation was being conducted.
Alexander then began pushing Alleyne off the compound and as the Crime Watch host asked why he was doing this, body slammed him into the businessman’s vehicle which was parked at the side of the road.
Alleyne was then handcuffed, placed in a police vehicle and subsequently taken to the Chaguanas station and charged by Alexander for resisting arrest, obstructing him (Alexander) in the execution of his duties and for using annoying language.
Public opinion on the incident remained divided yesterday, with social media users siding with each man in their posts on clips of the incident, which have been shared on Facebook since Tuesday. Alleyne denied any wrongdoing when he appeared in the Chaguanas Magistrates’ Court yesterday to answer the charges. He will reappear in court on March 22.
Both men found themselves in the halls of the court waiting for Alleyne’s case to be called yesterday but kept their distance to prevent the possibility of the slightest interaction. Speaking on Alleyne’s show on television station CNC 3 last night, his lawyer Gerald Ramdeen indicated that Alleyne would be taking civil legal action against Alexander and the TTPS.
“The letters to Alexander and the police commissioner have already been drafted and will be sent out tomorrow. If we do not get a response by next week we will be filing action in the High Court,” Ramdeen said.
Meanwhile, TTPS will be investigating claims from Sukhdeo’s wife, Rachael, that numerous reports of her domestic violence were ignored by police before she posted photos of her injuries on her husband’s company Facebook page on Saturday.
Speaking at the Press briefing, Pierre initially declined to comment on her claims, then stated: “I cannot speak to any reports prior. What I can speak about is the response of the police to what came about last weekend and the manner in which it was dealt with. It was speedy and spontaneous.”
However, when pressed further about the police’s alleged inaction to the victim’s initial complaints, Pierre appeared to change his tune.
“That will be investigated,” he said.
Pierre also sought to reassure members of the public of the TTPS’ stance on domestic violence cases.
He said: “It is the mandate of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service that a police officer shall respond to every complaint or report alleging domestic violence, whether or not the person making the complaint or the report is the victim, or whether the report is made in person or by phone. The primary concern of the police officers responding to reports of domestic violence should be the safety of the victim, whether or not the threat of violence is immediate or remote.”
Alleyne yesterday denied three criminal charges brought by rival television presentor Inspector Roger Alexander after a dispute during the search of the home of a Chaguanas businessman on Tuesday morning.
Alleyne pleaded not guilty to resisting arrest and for obstructing and using annoying language towards Alexander when he appeared before Senior Magistrate Joanne Connor in the Chaguanas First Magistrates’ Court yesterday.
After the charges were read, his lawyer Gerald Ramdeen asked Connor to allow his client to remain on the $20,000 bail he was granted by a Justice of the Peace at the Chaguanas Police Station hours after his arrest. Connor acceded to his request and adjourned the case to March 22.